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Humans host trillions of bacteria in their guts that help regulate digestion and general health.
These microbiomes are very complex and vary among individuals.
Now, scientists at Stanford University have created the first-ever synthetic human microbiome, New Atlas reported.
In their study, a research team came up with a list of 104 species of bacteria, considered the most prevalent microbes found in people.
Dubbing this group “hCom1,” they grew each bacterial species individually and mixed them all together. The team then successfully transplanted hCom1 to mice, which had no natural microbiome of their own.
They observed that the synthetic microbiome created a stable ecosystem and the animals had normal metabolisms.
Then the scientists attempted to fill the bacterial gaps left by the original microbial mix. The researchers did this by exposing hCom1 mice to a human fecal sample.
The researchers expected that any unfilled bacterial niches in hCom1 would be filled by these new invaders based on a theory known as ‘colonization resistance.’
They feared, however, that the human fecal sample would completely overtake the synthetic ones – but that wasn’t the case: While a number of bacteria died off, hCom1 survived the “invasion” and was colonized by 20 new species from the fecal matter.
The researchers ultimately cataloged 119 bacterial species and named this second microbiome generation hCom2. This new microbiome community performed as effectively as any general microbial composition in mice, they noted.
The authors hope that the findings will revolutionize gut microbiome research by providing scientists with a consistent working model for future trials.